Don't Change

Change if you want, but don't you go and change for me.

Nathan frowned quizzically as he checked his cell phone to find a song sent to him by Peyton. Aside from the above lyric, she had written –'what Haley should be saying. What real love is'.

Curious, Nathan slipped his ear phones in and listened to the song.

xXx

"Thank you." Nathan said to Peyton, sitting in the chair across her desk. "I got the song."

"And?"

"And I can see your crappy music taste hasn't improved at all since we've gone out." He answered wryly.

Expecting an answer like that, Peyton rolled her eyes. "I wasn't kidding, you know. You shouldn't have to change yourself for anyone."

"Haley told me the same thing."

"No, what she told you was that she was going to stop trying to change you. Which is total bullshit since she's already made you do a character 180. She implied you're the same as you've always been, but that's so wrong it's laughable."

Nathan sighed. "I've been trying."

"That's obvious. I don't even recognize you from junior year any more." He looked gratified until she added in pointedly, "That's not necessarily a good thing."

"You yourself called me a dick like several hundred times back then-"

"And you were one. I'm not saying it's bad that you're less of a bastard now, but I am saying you weren't totally awful back then. It's good to be less rough around the edges, but you've gone past a sand papering. You've been melted completely. You were funny and you had fire. Haley's molded you into some stepford husband."

He looked offended. "Oh, so it was funny when I treated you like crap, insulted you heavily, and made moves on other girls in front of you?"

"More funny than it is seeing you trailing behind Haley like a housetrained lapdog." She smirked. He scowled silently. "Nathan, do you like yourself?"

"Yeah."

"Did you like yourself back then?"

"I really was a dick. No, I don't like who I was."

"The question was did you like yourself. And I'm pretty sure that's a yes. Don't you feel tired of trying to be perfect all the time? One misstep and the holy mother assaults you like you're the devil."

"Haley deserves a guy who's-"

"The person you love deserves a guy she loves as is. You deserve to be with someone who doesn't see you as a fix-it project." The blonde interrupted him. "Listen, Nathan. She says she's done trying to change you; what I'm saying is there's nothing that needs to be changed. You've already purged yourself of so many traits I linked to you. If you do much more, there will be nothing left. Don't change. I kind of miss your jack ass side, anyways. This docile act is getting a little pathetic."

"Oh yeah because you standing by and letting Lucas marry another woman isn't docile." Nathan snarked.

"If by standing by you mean marching up to him and telling him I love him, that I should have said yes to his proposal, and telling him not to marry Lindsey; then yeah actually I'd say that's not really all that docile." Peyton fired back, jaw clenched at his insistence on bringing up Lucas.

"You seriously did all tha-"

"Yes. Because I know who I am and I know what I want and what I deserve. Do you?"

"I want Haley."

"Oh, so you're going to get her by groveling after making a nonmistake?" Peyton laughed, her tone lace with mockery.

"I did mess up."

"Did you sleep with that nanny? Hit on her? Kiss her? Watch her strip for you, grind with her, touch her in any way?"

"She kissed me-"

"Did you pull away?"

"Of course-"

"Did you encourage her advances in any way?"

"I told her to stop several times-"

"Right. You're a horrible husband. Haley's absolutely right in divorcing your ass." Peyton said sarcastically.

Nathan was annoyed at her for a moment before the words really sunk in and he realized, "You're right. I know all of the things you've said are true. I'm not a lapdog. I haven't fucked up, but it feels like every time I do anything aside from simpering I get lectured."

"She's not your mother."

"She's the mother of my child and the love of my life."

"The love of your love shouldn't make you feel like a naughty child."

"Well from what I remember, you made me feel like a naughty-" He smirked.

"And there's the Nathan I remember," Peyton laughed.

"You know, I think I'm actually the most like myself when I'm with you."

"I think so too."

"That's messed up." Nathan shook his head.

"Eh. We're both used to being the screwed up half of our relationships. Haley and Lucas were the good ones, we were the ones who had to be fixed. Always been like that. It's not surprising that when we're together we can just sort of ease back into who were before them." She shrugged, spinning in her chair slightly. "You become less like a pussy-whipped bore-"

"And you become less like a self-sacrificing whiner who's main objective is to re-attach yourself to my brother?"

"Ass."

"Bitch."

They grinned.

"Damn, we gotta hang out more."

"Don't change, Nathan." Peyton smiled. "You owe it to yourself."

"I am pretty awesome as I am, aren't I?"

Nathan chuckled, Peyton rolled her eyes. Felt like old times. Minus the insanely good sex, of course. They used to be fucked up and cold, but they were edgy, funny, and together. Sometimes the trade-up for bettering themselves didn't seem worth it.

Looking at each other was like looking into the eyes of their old selves.

"Thank you." Nathan said again. "For the song. The crappy, repetitive song."

"Shut up, formula-following music sheep."

"Hey-"

"You're white, Scott. Keep that in mind next time you bob your head to your lame ass rap."

"And you're listening to people who probably have gotten laid once in their entire lives, who still live with their parents, and oh, who probably only managed a record deal because idiotic girls like you buy into their whiney self-pitying shit."

"Luckily, I have the power now to give said artists deals now. Isn't it great?"

"God save the ears of humanity."

Peyton through a box of tissues at him.

"Kidding! You know I love your… no, really your taste sucks."

Laughing at the way Peyton's eyes narrowed, Nathan forgot about his marital issues for once. Which was, of course, her purpose all along.


AN: I have a thing for Pathan. My Leyton fangirling reaches insane heights, but that doesn't mean I don't like the interactions of Peyton with Nate :P. Hope you liked. Drop a line. Haley's rant in 5.11 really ticked me off, which spawned this. And then I heard No One Really Wins by Copeland on my ipod and out came the plot haha.

ETA: Haha, after some reviews I felt the need to clarify: I think Haley's been a massive bitch to Peyton this season and a bit of resentment towards her is fully warranted. I also think she should (I don't know if she would) side with Nathan on this whole thing since no matter how she says Haley is one of her best friends, I just haven't seen that shown on the show since season 1;I think she reasonably should be closer to Nathan.

Also, I didn't mean to make the P/N seem flirtatous, but they do tend to bring out each other's sarcastic and (imho :P) sexy side haha. Actually, I don't mind that it might seem a little flirty; I'm actually thinking up a Pathan fic at the mo that's definitely beyond friendship.

Yes, I am mad at Haley this season. Yes, I am very, very Team Nathan. :P Re-watching S1 made me a little nostalgic and 5.10 & 11 just pissed me off in terms of Naley.